Choosing Ways Courses

Although the Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing (Ways) general education breadth requirements are requirements, the courses you select to fulfill them can help personalize your education in meaningful ways. They can give you license to explore areas you would not otherwise think to pursue, as well as helping you refine your eventual major direction. The Ways requirement is an integral part of your liberal education, which Stanford faculty have designed in order to:

  • Broaden your knowledge and awareness in the major areas of human knowledge.
  • Significantly deepen understanding of one or two of these areas.
  • Prepare students for a lifetime of continual learning by applying knowledge to career and personal life.

The Ways requirement is described in detail on the Ways site and on the Stanford Bulletin. There is no need to cram the all your Ways courses into the first two years. Many students find that they have completed several requirements merely by taking classes within their interests. For example, all Thinking Matters courses fulfill a Way. In Axess, your Degree Progress Report will list your Ways and track their completion.

In selecting courses that fulfill the Ways requirement, you should:

  • Consider taking Introductory Seminars as many fulfill the Ways requirement.
  • Seek out Ways courses that complement or build upon your major. A physics major may fulfill a humanities requirement with a philosophy of science course. Students who study developmental psychology may benefit from an English class on children’s literature. Use keyword search in ExploreCourses to find such classes.
  • Use Ways courses to create a balanced workload for the quarter.
  • In ExploreCourses, enter a % in the search box to find all classes, and then use the filters in the right-hand column to browse all courses in a given quarter that fulfill a specific Way; or see the links from the Ways site or Stanford Bulletin.

If you matriculated prior to autumn 2013, then you may still be under the Disciplinary Breadth and Education for Citizenship requirements. Please refer to the Stanford Bulletin for more details on your GER requirements.  In Axess, your Degree Progress Report will list your GERs and track their completion.

Detailed Description of the General Education Requirements

Stanford Bulletin's Explore Degrees: Undergraduate Degrees and Programs